Carbon, Crown Heights

by Frayda
grilled chicken on rice alongside guacamole and chips

Carbon Charcoal Grill & Bar is a newly opened barbecue place in Crown Heights. The Kosher Cactus visited Carbon in June of 2022. This review was written in June of 2022.

Where  is Carbon located?

carbon charcoal bar and grill crown heights

Carbon, Charcoal Bar & Grill, is located at 262 Kingston Avenue, in Crown Heights. Carbon is just north of Eastern Parkway, between Lincoln Place and St Johns Place. 

You can get to Carbon with public transportation easily; the 3 subway line has a stop at Kingston and Eastern Pkwy.

The B45 bus stops at St Johns and Kingston, and the B43 stops at Kingston and Eastern Pkwy (just outside the Jewish Children’s Museum, Mendys, and Chocolatte). 

Parking is sometimes hard to come by on Kingston, but you can usually find a spot in the side streets. Just be prepared to walk for a minute… or five. 

What time is Carbon open?

brioche bun sandwich and tater-tot fries

The restaurant is open from 3PM to 10PM, Monday through Thursday, and 12PM-10PM on Sundays. They are closed on Fridays, and will be open Saturday evenings during the winter season. 

Do I need to make a reservation?

Crown Heights has become a destination for incredible Kosher food, and Carbon is just another incredible space to debut there. So far it has drawn the attention of bloggers, influencers and foodies, all vying for a seat. And popular opinion is that this is the place to go. 

When we visited there were 2 empty tables, but they filled up fast. The turnover is also extremely high- I didn’t notice anyone waiting more than 5 minutes. 

In short, no reservation necessary. 

Do they deliver?

So far, Carbon has orders for pickup, but they do plan on adding delivery service once their menu is properly set. 

What is the vibe at Carbon?

The restaurant space is not enormous- seating is just for 50 people, total. The room, however, is beautiful, in a modern-industrial way.  There are exposed brick walls, a dark wood bar and glass tabletops. A cute little blue ‘hut’ in the back of the restaurant houses a kitchen and a counter to order food. 

Along half the length of the storefront is a bar, with a gorgeous dark wood surface. All around Carbon are little whimsical touches- fluorescent lights, mirrors and car number-plates with sayings like ‘it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!’.  

It’s an eclectic space, but it’s beautiful. 

grilled chicken with gremolata on rice

Carbon has a menu that heavily features grilled food. Chicken, chicken wings, sausage, meat kebabs. There are starter options, like guacamole and chips, empanadas, and fries. 

Basically, all the food is the very best of your favorite part of summer: Barbecue dinners. 

What is on the menu at Carbon?

Carbon has some really great items on the menu, but these were some of our favorites:

Carbon Fries with Cheese.

A starter, and a really good one! The fries are untraditional- they are cute little ‘rounds’ that are almost like tater-tots. The ‘cheese’ is a creamy sauce, almost like gravy, that goes on top. Not at all what we were expecting, but surprisingly good. 

Guacamole. 

The best guac I’ve had at a restaurant in New York. (Actually, on the East Coast). This guac was extremely fresh, and a lot! Well spiced, with little bits of red bell pepper and herbs, it was served alongside simple bagged tortilla chips, but it stood on its own as a very fresh, incredibly appetizing… appetizer. (Sorry.)

Choripan Sandwich. 

cross section of sandwich with sausage and peppers

This sandwich comes in a toasted brioche bun, and features a grilled sausage, roasted peppers and a tomato salsa. It was a good blend of flavors, even though it wasn’t my favorite dish. 

Burnt Rice Bowl with Half Patagonian Chicken. 

WINNER of a dinner. OMG. Perfect basmati rice, with little crispy caramelized edges, a small heaping of tomato salad, the best grilled chicken of my life, and a fresh herb gremolata on the top. Every single bite of this was amazing. It was well sized, well priced, well made and off-the-charts delicious. 

What else is on the menu?

  • Starters 
  • Wings
  • Sides
  • Over Charcoal (Mains)
  • Sandwiches
  • Grain Bowls
  • Sauces
  • Drinks
  • Sweets
chicken wings and mustard dipping sauce

What is the best dish at Carbon?

The wings. Most of the grilled chicken that I have eaten in my life has been of the dry, bland and boring variety. Carbon’s was in a league of its own. The outside was perfectly seasoned, beautifully crispy, and aesthetically gorgeous. And the inside was just *chefs kiss*. Juicy, tender, flavorful… this is the best dish, hands down. And- it’s extremely affordable. 

How do I go off-menu at Carbon?

The restaurant is brand new, so the menu is not set yet- and besides, everything is brand new! Choose anything; I guarantee you have not tried it yet. (Haha I’m so funny. Ok, sorry.)

What is the service like?

lava cookies and carrot muffin with marshmallow top

Carbon is the perfect restaurant for someone who is in the mood for great food, but not in the mood for anything else. There are screens to order food from at the front of the restaurant; when you put in your cell phone number, they will text you when your order is ready. Seating is ‘find-your-own’, and when you’re finished eating, you can bring your tray and trash, cafeteria-style, to the bins on the side. 

We did notice that our table needed to be wiped down, but when we asked the staff, they were gracious and fast about it. 

(Carbon, if you are reading this, your washing area needs a ring dish. Thaaanks.)

All the dishes were served in to-go containers (which they would seal and package if you wanted to get take out), and the cutlery were plastic. 

Our food came fairly quickly, in about 15 minutes or so. Although we didn’t have anything to eat while we waited, a) all our food came out at once, which was great. Especially considering the self-serve aspect of the restaurant. And b) I’m sure once the bar is open, that little wait time will be a perfect interval to order pre-dinner drinks. So it’s all good. 

What Hashgacha are they under?

rice pudding with cinnamon and marshmallow crackles

Carbon is under the Kosher supervision of CHK. All meat is Lubavitch Shechita, and wines are Mevushal. All breads are pas Yisroel. 

Does Carbon serve drinks?

Yes, Carbon serves drinks! As well as the regular sodas, teas and seltzers, Carbon will soon have a full bar. As most new restaurants do, they are currently awaiting their liquor license. 

Are there vegan/ vegetarian options on the menu?

Unless you want to subsist on plain ol’ Guac (a Starter), or some of the Sides, everything at Carbon contains meat in some form or another. Alas, this is not the diner for vegetarians. The staff at Carbon have said that the menu is subject to change, so they may just add something soon. Basically, no- but watch this space. 

Is Carbon kid-friendly?

Yes… if you don’t have a particularly picky eater. 

And, yes, the restaurant does have infant high-chairs. 

Is Carbon wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the restaurant is wheelchair accessible. The storefront is level with the street, and there is a restroom that is accessible as well. 

Does Carbon serve desserts?

grilled chicken with rice and fresh salad

Yes, Carbon serves desserts! They actually have quite a few options on the menu, which makes a nice change from the “what are the options? Yes or no” restaurants that have popped up recently. (In case you can’t tell, that means there’s only one option for dessert.. Ok, I’ll see myself out.) 

I’d recommend the Carrot Muffin, which was recommended to us, and was absolutely worth the hype. For the record, it comes with a marshmallow-fluff-esque topping, which was way too much for me- but other people at the table loved it. 

In case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with carrot muffins, and this one did not let me down at all. 

We also got Rice Pudding, which is served cold! I loved that. It is made with coconut milk and cinnamon, and it’s delicious. 

We got lava cookies for our babysitter, and she thoroughly enjoyed them.

Final Thoughts

What a night! Carbon was exceptionally different than I had envisioned (what is it with media influencers posting pics of real dishes?) but vastly exceeded my expectations, food-wise. The grilled meats and chicken was out of this world, the side dishes were fresh and flavorful, and the staff were helpful and fairly quick.

For our supper of 3 apps, 2 mains, 2 drinks and 3 desserts, we paid just over $80.

Yes, we will be going back.

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